Whose Jerusalem ?

Whose Jerusalem ?

The Age of the Gentiles

After the flood, and the scattering of mankind into nations from the Tower of Babel, the Israelites first appeared; and for a span of one thousand years their Gentile enemies could not put down the First Jewish Commonwealth, which was sovereign throughout the Middle East.

God sent Nebuchadnezzer, the Gentile king of the Babylonian Empire, to chastise the Israelites, and about 600 B.C. the southern kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem were destroyed; and the Jews and several prophets, including Daniel, were carried captive to Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzer had a dream about a giant statue or image representing the future "age of the Gentiles," the golden head representing his own empire; followed by successive Gentile empires, ending with a divided Roman Empire which would "in the last days" attempt reunification. Daniel's interpretation of the dream foretold that unity among the Gentiles would not be possible as the "ten toes of mixed iron and clay" would not stick together.

The Book of Daniel examines these successive Gentile empires (which have in fact since come and gone) and finds their outstanding characteristics to be ungodliness, idolatry, injustice, inhumanity of man to man, and perpetual war; and from their kings and rulers pride, irresponsibility, and lack of accountability for their stewardship, as God sees it. This prophecy in Daniel, given some 2500 years ago, and today almost totally fulfilled, is proof of the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures; to anyone who would examine the prophecy and compare it with world history as it has in fact transpired. In interpreting the dream God further revealed to Daniel events which have not even yet been fulfilled, described as 'ta stone not cut out by human hands" (the Messiah) falling from heaven upon the Gentile image, crushing it to powder and "blowing it away." Further, that stone began to grow before Daniel's very eyes until "it became a great mountain and filled all the earth" (Daniel 2:31-45).

Thus to Daniel it was revealed that the God of the whole earth would judge Gentile history, find it totally lacking in godliness, justice and peace; and replace it suddenly with "an everlasting kingdom."

The Gentile rulers would war with each other for wealth and power, lord it over their subjects who they were supposed to serve, and put down, despise and persecute the Jewish people and nation; unaware that Israel is "the apple of God's eye," for His Holy Name's sake (Zechariah 2:8).

Despite what man would do, Jew or Gentile, the covenant-keeping God would perform His promise to David and to Israel (Psalm 89:28-36).

At the dedication of the infant child Jesus, Simeon has prophesied to Mary and Joseph that the child Jesus would cause "the fall and rising again of many in Israel" (Luke 2:34).

In natural history a nation or empire first "rises," then falls," but in the supernatural history of Israel the order is reversed; the nation was destined to fall only to rise again later.

The Apostle Paul explains this as Israel being "tripped up" over the identity of her Messiah, "the stone that the builders rejected" (Romans 9:32, 33).

Ezekiel describes this process of the restoration of Israel as occurring in two stages; first the physical return of the nation to the Promised Land (Ezekiel 36); followed by the spiritual restoration of Israel in the land as God breathes His Spirit into them (Ezekiel 7).

This restoration of Israel, the promise of which is woven into the Scriptures throughout, is happening before the very eyes of this present generation.

The Psalmist records it thus: "Thou shall arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favour her, yes the set time, is come... When the Lord shall build up Zion he shall appear in his glory... This shall be written for the generation to come... .To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem... When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord"' (Psalm 102:13-22).

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